Liberation: Striving & Urgency

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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alfa
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Liberation: Striving & Urgency

Post by alfa » Mon Sep 24, 2018 5:29 am

DooDoot wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 10:24 am
StormBorn wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 10:19 am
....
Ultimately, race or nation makes little difference. Dhamma is known by liberation and liberation is reached due to an urgency for it.
Not to digress, but isn't liberation something that JUST happens? Not something you strive for and attain? Even the Buddha suddenly attained it and NOT while he was practising various spiritual disciplines.

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JamesTheGiant
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Re: Will Westerners ever catch Buddhism ?

Post by JamesTheGiant » Mon Sep 24, 2018 7:33 am

alfa wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 5:29 am

Not to digress, but isn't liberation something that JUST happens? Not something you strive for and attain? Even the Buddha suddenly attained it and NOT while he was practising various spiritual disciplines.
It just happens, but it just happens after many years or many lifetimes of cultivating the path to liberation, the eightfold path. Training to let go.
Like the blooming of a flower just happens, but it has to have the right amount of water, sun, nutrients, etc.
Or like payday, on a Friday. You have to work all the week, then you get paid on a Friday.
Hmm maybe they're not great metaphors...

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AgarikaJ
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Re: Liberation: Striving & Urgency

Post by AgarikaJ » Mon Sep 24, 2018 9:03 am

alfa wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 5:29 am
Not to digress, but isn't liberation something that JUST happens? Not something you strive for and attain? Even the Buddha suddenly attained it and NOT while he was practising various spiritual disciplines.
Liberation can only happen by following the Noble Eightfold Path, which contains, besides others Right Effort. It is, one might say, the basic tenet of Theravada.

Even the Buddha only attained enlightenment after following it, specifically while practicing Right Mindfulness and Concentration as the last steps to be concluded in the Noble Path while he was sitting under a tree in Bodh Gaya in Bihar (India).

The Bodhi Sutta describing this exact moment in time and geography can be found here, outlining the effort it took even him to complete his enlightenment: https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .irel.html
The teaching is a lake with shores of ethics, unclouded, praised by the fine to the good.
There the knowledgeable go to bathe, and cross to the far shore without getting wet.
[SN 7.21]

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DooDoot
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Re: Liberation: Striving & Urgency

Post by DooDoot » Mon Sep 24, 2018 11:16 am

alfa wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 5:29 am
Not to digress, but isn't liberation something that JUST happens? Not something you strive for and attain? Even the Buddha suddenly attained it and NOT while he was practising various spiritual disciplines.
Good question. I will provide a personal answer. In my opinion, attaining liberation requires a profound abandoning of ego/self. Only a mind very desperate to end suffering can give up self in this profound way. Its similar to how a mother will sacrifice her life to save her child. This is urgency but this type of urgency leads to profound sacrifice. Kind regards. :)

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budo
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Re: Liberation: Striving & Urgency

Post by budo » Mon Sep 24, 2018 1:40 pm

alfa wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 5:29 am
DooDoot wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 10:24 am
StormBorn wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 10:19 am
....
Ultimately, race or nation makes little difference. Dhamma is known by liberation and liberation is reached due to an urgency for it.
Not to digress, but isn't liberation something that JUST happens? Not something you strive for and attain? Even the Buddha suddenly attained it and NOT while he was practising various spiritual disciplines.
Not at all. The Buddha rejected many teachings and found the middle way after he remembered entering jhana as a child. He sat under the Bodhi tree and entered jhana and didn't give up until he had reached enlightenment. How is that random and how is that "just happening"?

That's pure effort, discipline, and trial and error.

Saying enlightenment "just happens" is like saying a match "just ignites" after you strike it against a matchbox.

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salayatananirodha
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Re: Liberation: Striving & Urgency

Post by salayatananirodha » Tue Sep 25, 2018 3:52 am

16. 'In what has the world originated?' — so said the Yakkha Hemavata, — 'with what is the world intimate? by what is the world afflicted, after having grasped at what?' (167)

17. 'In six the world has originated, O Hemavata,' — so said Bhagavat, — 'with six it is intimate, by six the world is afflicted, after having grasped at six.' (168)

- Hemavatasutta


links:
https://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/index.htm
http://thaiforestwisdom.org/canonical-texts/
http://seeingthroughthenet.net/
https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html

paul
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Re: Liberation: Striving & Urgency

Post by paul » Tue Sep 25, 2018 4:02 am

The gradual training:
"Just as the ocean has a gradual shelf, a gradual slope, a gradual inclination, with a sudden drop-off only after a long stretch; in the same way this Dhamma & Vinaya has a gradual training, a gradual performance, a gradual practice, with a penetration to gnosis only after a long stretch." Ud 5.5

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Bundokji
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Re: Liberation: Striving & Urgency

Post by Bundokji » Tue Sep 25, 2018 4:54 am

Does liberation happen organically or through systematic effort?

Similar questions are raised in relations to many things humans do, not only the Buddhist practice. We experience the world as separate beings, we initiate actions, and yet, we are part of a whole system. This is where the question "what is natural" seems to arise from. We feel that our actions include distortions of what is natural. We often distinguish between what is "human made" and what is "natural". We try to evaluate our impact on the environment and we often ask how we often ask ourselves how should we raise our kids? if we leave them on their own, this is too risky, and if we exercise too much control, they tend to become pathological and we disturb their natural growth.

I have encountered Buddhists notions that the aim of the practice is to act in harmony with nature.

The Buddhist path is taught by a teacher who knows our problem better than we do, so what sort of actions one should follow is the result of insight which might not be applicable to the individual practitioner. So, the practitioner begins by following the instructions of the teacher and he/she will naturally fail because his actions are not the results of insight. After many rounds of trial and error the practitioner will begin to question himself and try to understand why he/she is unable to have the right grasp of the teachings, then he refers to the teachings and sees that it describes the structure of his/her being/suffering. The very understanding of ones own being and suffering becomes the insight needed to change actions, which happens naturally.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

SarathW
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Re: Will Westerners ever catch Buddhism ?

Post by SarathW » Tue Sep 25, 2018 5:20 am

JamesTheGiant wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 7:33 am
alfa wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 5:29 am

Not to digress, but isn't liberation something that JUST happens? Not something you strive for and attain? Even the Buddha suddenly attained it and NOT while he was practising various spiritual disciplines.
It just happens, but it just happens after many years or many lifetimes of cultivating the path to liberation, the eightfold path. Training to let go.
Like the blooming of a flower just happens, but it has to have the right amount of water, sun, nutrients, etc.
Or like payday, on a Friday. You have to work all the week, then you get paid on a Friday.
Hmm maybe they're not great metaphors...
I can't think another metaphor better than above.
:twothumbsup:
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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salayatananirodha
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Re: Liberation: Striving & Urgency

Post by salayatananirodha » Tue Sep 25, 2018 6:05 am

paul wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 4:02 am
https://www.buddha-vacana.org/sutta/anguttara/06/an06-020.html wrote:I have heard that at one time the Blessed One was staying at Nadika, in the Brick Hall. There he addressed the monks:

— "Monks, mindfulness of death — when developed & pursued — is of great fruit & great benefit. It gains a footing in the Deathless, has the Deathless as its final end. And how is mindfulness of death developed & pursued so that it is of great fruit & great benefit, gains a footing in the Deathless, and has the Deathless as its final end?

"There is the case where a monk, as day departs and night returns, reflects: 'Many are the [possible] causes of my death. A snake might bite me, a scorpion might sting me, a centipede might bite me. That would be how my death would come about. That would be an obstruction for me. Stumbling, I might fall; my food, digested, might trouble me; my bile might be provoked, my phlegm might be provoked, piercing wind forces [in the body] might be provoked. That would be how my death would come about. That would be an obstruction for me.' Then the monk should investigate: 'Are there any evil, unskillful mental qualities unabandoned by me that would be an obstruction for me were I to die in the night?'

If, on reflecting, he realizes that there are evil, unskillful mental qualities unabandoned by him that would be an obstruction for him were he to die in the night, then he should put forth extra desire, effort, diligence, endeavor, undivided mindfulness, & alertness for the abandoning of those very same evil, unskillful qualities.

Just as when a person whose turban or head was on fire would put forth extra desire, effort, diligence, endeavor, undivided mindfulness, & alertness to put out the fire on his turban or head, in the same way the monk should put forth extra desire, effort, diligence, endeavor, undivided mindfulness, & alertness for the abandoning of those very same evil, unskillful qualities.

But if, on reflecting, he realizes that there are no evil, unskillful mental qualities unabandoned by him that would be an obstruction for him were he to die in the night, then for that very reason he should dwell in joy & rapture, training himself day & night in skillful qualities.

"Further, there is the case where a monk, as night departs and day returns, reflects: 'Many are the [possible] causes of my death. A snake might bite me, a scorpion might sting me, a centipede might bite me. That would be how my death would come about. That would be an obstruction for me. Stumbling, I might fall; my food, digested, might trouble me; my bile might be provoked, my phlegm might be provoked, piercing wind forces [in the body] might be provoked. That would be how my death would come about. That would be an obstruction for me.' Then the monk should investigate: 'Are there any evil, unskillful mental qualities unabandoned by me that would be an obstruction for me were I to die during the day?'

If, on reflecting, he realizes that there are evil, unskillful mental qualities unabandoned by him that would be an obstruction for him were he to die during the day, then he should put forth extra desire, effort, diligence, endeavor, undivided mindfulness, & alertness for the abandoning of those very same evil, unskillful qualities.

Just as when a person whose turban or head was on fire would put forth extra desire, effort, diligence, endeavor, undivided mindfulness, & alertness to put out the fire on his turban or head, in the same way the monk should put forth extra desire, effort, diligence, endeavor, undivided mindfulness, & alertness for the abandoning of those very same evil, unskillful qualities.

But if, on reflecting, he realizes that there are no evil, unskillful mental qualities unabandoned by him that would be an obstruction for him were he to die during the day, then for that very reason he should dwell in joy & rapture, training himself day & night in skillful qualities.

"This, monks, is how mindfulness of death is developed & pursued so that it is of great fruit & great benefit, gains a footing in the Deathless, and has the Deathless as its final end."
16. 'In what has the world originated?' — so said the Yakkha Hemavata, — 'with what is the world intimate? by what is the world afflicted, after having grasped at what?' (167)

17. 'In six the world has originated, O Hemavata,' — so said Bhagavat, — 'with six it is intimate, by six the world is afflicted, after having grasped at six.' (168)

- Hemavatasutta


links:
https://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/index.htm
http://thaiforestwisdom.org/canonical-texts/
http://seeingthroughthenet.net/
https://www.dhammatalks.org/index.html

pegembara
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Re: Liberation: Striving & Urgency

Post by pegembara » Tue Sep 25, 2018 6:34 am

alfa wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 5:29 am
DooDoot wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 10:24 am
StormBorn wrote:
Sat Sep 22, 2018 10:19 am
....
Ultimately, race or nation makes little difference. Dhamma is known by liberation and liberation is reached due to an urgency for it.
Not to digress, but isn't liberation something that JUST happens? Not something you strive for and attain? Even the Buddha suddenly attained it and NOT while he was practising various spiritual disciplines.
It doesn't just happen but only when the conditions are ripe.
"Kassapa, these seven factors of enlightenment are well expounded by me and are cultivated and fully developed by me. They conduce to perfect understanding, to full realization (of the four Noble Truths) and to Nibbana. What are the seven?"

1. "Mindfulness, the factor of enlightenment, Kassapa, is well expounded by me, and is cultivated and fully developed by me. It conduces to perfect understanding, to full realization and to Nibbana."

2. "Investigation of the Dhamma, the factor of enlightenment, Kassapa, is well expounded by me, and is cultivated and fully developed by me. It conduces to perfect understanding, to full realization and to Nibbana."

3. "Persevering effort, the factor of enlightenment, Kassapa, is well expounded by me and is cultivated and fully developed by me. It conduces to perfect understanding, to full realization and to Nibbana."

4. "Rapture, the factor of enlightenment, Kassapa, is well expounded by me, and is cultivated and fully developed by me. It conduces to perfect understanding, to full realization and to Nibbana."

5. "Calm, the factor of enlightenment, Kassapa, is well expounded by me, and is cultivated and fully developed by me. It conduces to perfect understanding, to full realization and to Nibbana."

6. "Concentration, the factor of enlightenment, Kassapa, is well expounded by me, and is cultivated and fully developed by me. It conduces to perfect understanding, to full realization and to Nibbana."

7. "Equanimity, the factor of enlightenment, Kassapa, is well expounded by me, and is cultivated and fully developed by me. It conduces to perfect understanding, to full realization and to Nibbana."
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

alfa
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Re: Liberation: Striving & Urgency

Post by alfa » Wed Sep 26, 2018 6:26 am

Thanks, everyone, for the posts.

What u guys are basically saying is this: liberation does not just happen. We need to create the right conditions under which it happens.

But is it even possible to create the right conditions, since we are products of certain conditions ourselves?

The Inuit, for example, are products of a certain environment. How will they suddenly develop a desire for liberation and follow the noble path?

So even to follow the noble path ... is it really a matter of choice or is it just a matter of luck?

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budo
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Re: Liberation: Striving & Urgency

Post by budo » Wed Sep 26, 2018 6:31 am

alfa wrote:
Wed Sep 26, 2018 6:26 am
Thanks, everyone, for the posts.

What u guys are basically saying is this: liberation does not just happen. We need to create the right conditions under which it happens.

But is it even possible to create the right conditions, since we are products of certain conditions ourselves?

The Inuit, for example, are products of a certain environment. How will they suddenly develop a desire for liberation and follow the noble path?

So even to follow the noble path ... is it really a matter of choice or is it just a matter of luck?
You can say the same for everything. The development of smart phones, matter of luck or matter of choices?

This a nihilism vs free will debate at the end of the day. Buddhism isn't nihilist.

The fact of the matter is you are right now aware of the path, you are not in some isolated jungle in the congo or iceberg in the arctic, will you choose to follow the path and see for yourself or will you continue to theorize alternate realities? The choice is yours.
Last edited by budo on Wed Sep 26, 2018 6:40 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Sam Vara
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Re: Liberation: Striving & Urgency

Post by Sam Vara » Wed Sep 26, 2018 6:34 am

alfa wrote:
Wed Sep 26, 2018 6:26 am
Thanks, everyone, for the posts.

What u guys are basically saying is this: liberation does not just happen. We need to create the right conditions under which it happens.

But is it even possible to create the right conditions, since we are products of certain conditions ourselves?

The Inuit, for example, are products of a certain environment. How will they suddenly develop a desire for liberation and follow the noble path?

So even to follow the noble path ... is it really a matter of choice or is it just a matter of luck?
Where one is born (with its attendant possibilities and opportunities) might also be a matter of one's previous kamma. This issue has been discussed on DW before, and someone might be able to locate that thread. Alternatively, you might want to consider a new thread on this.

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